Suffering from the January blues? This is the reason you feel sad after Christmas

It's the worst time of year for lots of us...

January Slump

That’s it. Just like that, the Christmas period is over.

We’ve swiftly gone from what felt like an eternity of relaxing with an alcoholic beverage in one hand and a calorie laden treat in the other, back to the reality of our festively void every day lives.

To make matters worse, the supposed ‘most depressing day of the year’, dubbed Blue Monday, is set to take hold on the 20th of January. It’s said to be the date that those post-xmas blues and the realisation that you’re officially back to the grind of life really kicks in.

If feeling down in the dumps after Christmas is a yearly occurrence for you, you’re definitely not alone- and there’s a scientific reason behind it too.

January blues

The post-Christmas slump is a real situation apparently and it’s all thanks to the inner workings of our brains and the neurochemical, dopamine, inside them.

“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries signals within the brain. Among its many duties is a crucial role in signalling the feelings of enjoyment we get out of life’s pleasures," writer Ed Yong told Discover magazine.

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After a few weeks of fun with the family, laughs over festive tipples and snuggling up around a sparkling Christmas tree, going back to our regular lifestyles can cause a dopamine ‘comedown’, with less of the chemical hitting our brains, leaving us vulnerable to a mood crash.

January blues

“Fortunately for most of us, healthy brain neurosensors keep dopamine at manageable levels," Oxford Science Editing explained.

"But too much of a good thing can lead to a crash, much like withdrawal from a powerful drug. Even the most regulated brain cannot avoid the gloomy effects that a major change in dopamine levels can cause.

“When all the presents are unwrapped and we’re sitting around in a post-merriment torpor, the departure of all those feel-good chemicals can feel terribly gloomy.”